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BP to cut 300 North Sea jobs in response to sharp fall in oil prices

Following a review of its North Sea operations, oil company BP is to cut 200 jobs and 100 contractor roles, the BBC’s Scotland Business news service revealed on Thursday.

.Measure to reduce BPs staff numbers are believed to have been taken in response to tougher market conditions that have seen significant cuts in oil prices.

Oil prices recently dropped to a low of about USD46 per barrel, from a peak of about USD115 in the summer of 2014. Prices currently stand at about USD48 per barrel.

BP currently employs 3,500 people in the North Sea, with a further 11,000 elsewhere in the UK. Staff at BP’s North Sea headquarters in Aberdeen have reportedly been told that the majority of the job losses will be at the company’s onshore operations and will include a relatively small amount of compulsory redundancies.

Regional president for BP North Sea, Trevor Garlick, was cited as saying: “We are committed to the North Sea and see a long term future for our business here.

“However, given the well-documented challenges of operating in this maturing region and in toughening market conditions, we are taking specific steps to ensure our business remains competitive and robust, and we are aligning with the wider industry.

“Whilst our primary focus will be on improving efficiencies and on simplifying the way we work, an inevitable outcome of this will be an impact on headcount and we expect a reduction of around 200 staff and 100 contractor roles.

“We have spoken to staff and will work with those affected over the coming months.”

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has been reported as saying that the falling price of oil posed a risk to jobs in the North Sea and has announced the setting up of a task force to help the sector. Sturgeon is also said to have made the offer of a funded guarantee to support apprenticeships in the industry.

To date, BP has invested GBP35bn in the North Sea, which accounts for 5% of the company’s global production. The company’s North Sea operations have produced five billion barrels of oil and gas. It is also estimated that there are three billion barrels of oil equivalent reserves in the area.

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